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Release: February 11, 2000

UI Cancer Center team to participate in American Cancer Society Relay for Life Feb. 13

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- They'll be stretching on the sidelines, wearing bright blue jerseys, poised and ready to take a turn on the track. The University of Iowa Cancer Center (UICC) will be cheering for Team UICC 2000 to make strides at the American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay for Life, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 13 at the UI Recreation Building.

Some 67 participants representing almost all UI Cancer Center clinical departments and programs will participate in the nationwide race that raises funds for cancer research, education and patient services. This year, University of Iowa Health Care and the UI Cancer Center are silver sponsors of the relay, inviting all members of Johnson County to join in the effort.

Nearly 100 teams representing organizations, local businesses, UI offices and families of cancer patients are expected to take part in the Relay for Life race, which is "dedicated to continue the fight against cancer," said Nancy Williams, co-chair of the Relay for Life and president of the Johnson County American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

"The Relay for Life is a wonderful community event that raises money to support cancer patients and their families locally while increasing the awareness of the fight against cancer in general," said Ted Yank, Team UICC captain and an administrator at the UI Cancer Center.

The original idea for the relay began with Gordon Klatt, a physician and ACS volunteer in Tacoma, Wash., who raised $27,000 in 1985 running and walking 81 miles for 24 hours. The ACS adopted the Relay for Life concept in 1994, and it has continued to be a symbolic day of compassion and encouragement for cancer patients and survivors.

"The ACS and UI Cancer Center are allies in this fight," said George Weiner, M.D., director of the UI Cancer Center and UI associate professor of internal medicine. "The majority of these locally generated funds are used to provide excellent local programming to support and educate patients and the public, while the rest are sent on to the National ACS to finance their national research and educational initiatives."

Weiner added, "Faculty from the University of Iowa Cancer Center have been successful in competing for these research funds at the national level and bringing them back to Iowa to support new and innovative research projects right here in Iowa City."

Through national competition, Johnson County receives $2 million annually from the ACS for research grants and other programs and services, Williams said. Included in the total is $100,000 that goes toward funding seed grants, which help new UI Cancer Center researchers initiate their research projects. Many local programs and services such as, Road to Recovery, Look Good - Feel Better, and the Navigator program are also funded by the American Cancer Society.

In addition to racing in this year's Relay for Life, the UI Cancer Center will also have volunteers on hand at the Cancer Information Service booth, the Mobile Mammography Van and the Valentine's craft-making and face-painting tables for children.

Performances by The Tornadoes, Big Yellow, the Grant Wood Jazzy Jumpers and other groups are scheduled throughout the day. A Survivors' Walk and brief ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. The Celebrity Race will begin at 4 p.m., featuring Hawkeye basketball coach, Steve Alford, other community and UI notables, TV and radio personalities, and Herky and the UI Pom Pon squad.


University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.